Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Guess Pride Month Is Over
There was disappointment, rage, and frustration on social media yesterday when First Avenue announced ticket sales for a Dave Chappelle “pop-up” concert on Wednesday. The reason for the uproar wasn’t the $120 ticket prices. Chappelle has notoriously been stooping to lazy, offensive, anti-trans gags on stage, and like so many comics, he’s responding to criticism by digging in his heels. It ain’t hurting his pocketbook, sad to say. First Ave sold out, tix are now being scalped for three times face value, and today the Varsity announced two more Chappelle shows later this week. When those tickets are gone will a third venue sell out its trans patrons, employees, and musicians?
PR-wise, this seems a poor choice for First Avenue, whose well-curated reputation as a progressive force in the Minneapolis community could take a hit here. The apparent calculus is that their brand is secure enough to take a few such hits to keep the bottom line. Not the sort of amoral accounting you like to hear about as hate crimes and violence against trans people is on the rise, states are pushing record levels of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, and a federal judge has blocked implementation the Biden Administration’s protections for gay and transgender employees. One last thing: We probably all should have been this mad when the eminently punchable Bill Maher, who’s been dabbling in transphobia himself lately, played the State on June —during Pride month no less.
Matt Birk: Slavery is Like Abortion; Women Think They Need Jobs
Scott Jensen’s running mate Matt Birk is saying stupid shit in public again. The Minnesota Reformer recently shared a collection of videos from a talk he gave to an anti-abortion group in Georgia, during which the ex-NFLer/current Republican hopeful shared his thoughts on women and their place in society. Let's take a look at some highlights below.
On pro-choice advocates’ stealthy–but also loud!—approach: “Our culture loudly but also stealthily promotes abortion. They’re telling women they should look a certain way. They should have careers, all these things.”
On women who seek abortions after rape: “One of the arguments I probably saw 20 times online today was about rape. And obviously they always want to go to the rape card.”
Also, he is just wrong about this: “Abortion is not gonna, it’s not gonna heal the wounds of [rape]. And, and two wrongs is not gonna, is not gonna make it right.”
You can read more hard thinking from Birk over at Minnesota Reformer, including some thoughts on how abortion is like slavery. (“The other side treats an unborn child like the unborn child is the property of the mother.”) Here at Racket, we’ve also been covering Birk’s many snafus, including how Birk, a millionaire, took a $64K PPP loan to keep his two-person company afloat during the pandemic, has likened ethnic studies to teaching children a religious belief system, and was repeatedly a jerk to Chipotle employees.
Books for Black Kids
Minneapolis is not exactly a trove of Black-owned bookstores. So the opening of Strive in the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis is welcome news. (There should be more bookstores downtown anyway.) “I always had to spend extra time and money to find books that our Black children could relate to,” owner Mary Taris told Sahan Journal. “At a certain point, after years of being frustrated, I just decided I needed to do something about it.” So Taris started a publishing company, and she’s following its now with this new brick-and-mortar establishment. The grand opening, on Wednesday, July 20, will feature Anthony Walsh, author of Hockey Is for Everybody, and doubles as the first installment of the store’s summer Book Talk series.
Politics Ain’t Cheap
Quick: Name Ilhan Omar’s Republican challenger. (Hint: Not Don Samuels.) “Cicely Davis,” it says here—and according to MinnPost, she has raised almost $2 million for her campaign already. Lots of that is from out of state, as money is flooding into high-profile congressional races in Minnesota. Another big funding magnet is in the 2nd District, where Republicans think they can topple Angie Craig, though she’s got twice as much cash on hand. (By contrast, Hormel ex-exec Jeff Ettinger, running as a Democrat in the 1st, lent his campaign $400,000 of its $800,000.) Davis, of course, is as likely to carry the 5th District as I am to nab the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Office of the Year Award. But many people on either side of the fence donate based on feelings rather than strategy: I bet Marjorie Taylor Greene’s doomed challenger is raking it in. Who really wins in this situation? (Besides the safe incumbent.) Folks in the political campaign industry. Which seems like a biz not in need of boosting.